Case Study: Cumbria Green Open Homes

Cumbria Green Open Homes

Case Study

During the spring of 2014, Cumbria Action for Sustainability ran six Green Open Homes events.

CAfS had organised their flagship event, the Cumbria Green Build Festival so were not new to organising open homes events. The Cumbria Green Open Homes project enabled CAfS to trial an alternative model to their usual Green Build Festival, held annually over the last two weeks of September. Being a large county with a sparse population, each of the Cumbria Green Open Homes events took place in one of the six local authority areas on a Saturday. This enabled CAfS to focus on specific areas to enable them to target a wider audience. The premeditated decision to hold the events on Saturdays enabled those who work during the week to attend, further attracting a larger audience.

CAfS’ dedicated project officer visited each of the householders in advance of the event to introduce herself, outline the project, obtain full details of the type of house and the interventions which had been carried out, and to execute a risk assessment in line with the insurers guidelines. Some of the householders wished to have pre-booked slots and these were facilitated through the online ticketing portal, EventBrite. The detail from each of the homes fed into the website content, and also uploaded to the Green Open Homes website.

The marketing plan for the event utilised a wide variety of activities to promote each of the events to a wide audience and engage those new to green building. Examples of marketing activity included press releases to various relevant local press; ads in local press; inclusion in newsletters for local sustainability groups and professional organisations e.g. AECB; inclusion in the CAfS enewsletter; posters drafted and circulated; neighbour invites given to householders to post; social media and use of facebook advertisements; attendance at external events to promote Cumbria Green Open Homes and mentions at many other meetings and events.

Where possible CAfS worked with partner organisations to recruit and promote the event, which allowed a wider audience to be reached.

Throughout the series of events, 34 houses were opened and received 755 visitors (to date, with one event still to happen on 21st June).

The experience and learning from Cumbria Green Open Homes will be fed into our annual Cumbria Green Build Festival, which is now in its 9th year and takes place the last two weeks of September.